Tourists finally exit storm-stricken Acapulco

Search for survivors of deadly Mexico storms continues, as thousands line up for aid and tourists begin journey home.

Last Modified: 21 Sep 2013 01:34
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Many are feared dead from a mudslide in the southwestern village of La Pintada, near Acapulco [AFP]

Thousands of Mexicans have lined up for food and shelter following deadly storms, as many tourists finally left flood-stricken Acapulco by road after being stranded for days. 

Rescuers continued to search for survivors of a deadly mudslide in mountains near the holiday resort, as tourists trapped in the city for almost a week packed into cars and buses after authorities reopened the road link to Mexico City on Friday. 

The highway department told travellers that the trip north on the Sun Highway, which usually takes about four hours, would last nine to 10 hours, with only a single lane open in some stretches.

Two tropical storms, Ingrid and  Manuel, have left a trail of destruction across the country, damaging 35,000 homes, flooding cities and killing about 100 people.

A lot of my relatives died, they're buried and we can't do anything

 Farmer Diego Zeron, of the mudslide-hit village of La Pintada.

 After regenerating into a hurricane and hitting the northwestern state of  Sinaloa late on Thursday, affecting 100,000 people and killing three, Manuel  finally dissipated over the mountains.

The government said on Friday at least 165 people were dead or missing across the country.

The southwestern state of Guerrero was the hardest hit, with at least 65 deaths.

While rescuers dug through mud in La Pintada, authorities were searching for a police helicopter that disappeared while conducting relief missions in the same mountain region of Guerrero.

Authorities said 68 people had been reported missing and two bodies were pulled out for now, but villagers fear that scores have perished.

Local farmer Diego Zeron said many were believed to be dead.

"A lot of my relatives died, they're buried and we can't do anything," he said.

Villagers evacuated

The mud collapsed on the village of 400 people during independence day celebrations on Monday, swallowing homes, the school and church before crashing into the river.

Soldiers and civil protection workers, many wearing surgical masks, removed pieces of broken homes and chopped up fallen trees with machetes.

Helicopters evacuated more than 330 villagers to Acapulco, but a few families decided to stay back, waiting for news on the missing.

Traffic piled up in Acapulco as police allowed cars to leave in groups of 50 to avoid huge backups on the Sun Highway.

Waiting to board a bus, Alejandro Tubias, a Mexico City resident, said it was high time to leave after his wife contracted a stomach bug that they blamed on the lack of drinking water.

"We are more than happy. We are in a hurry to go because my wife is sick and because we don't have any money to pay the hotel room," he said.


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